Matt's Crow Country: The price of free home care for the elderly is one worth paying

AS a society I think most people would agree that we need to look after our old people. After all, most of us will be elderly and (probably) cantankerous at some point, and with an aging population, issues surrounding care for over-65 s are bound to f

AS a society I think most people would agree that we need to look after our old people.

After all, most of us will be elderly and (probably) cantankerous at some point, and with an aging population, issues surrounding care for over-65's are bound to form an important part of all the campaigns in the forthcoming general election.

Labour have already announced plans to offer free personal care at home for all elderly folk who need it via a national care service, and I think this could be a great idea if it is implemented properly.

In a previous life I worked for a care company, and I would say the vast majority of patients are a lot happier staying in their home rather than being moved into unfamiliar residential care. So any policy which makes this easier to achieve would be welcome as far as I'm concerned. I also feel it could make care provision more equitable, whereby the standard level available becomes higher, rather than varying greatly depending on what you can afford to pay as it tends to at the moment.


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Of course, making any service such as this free is going to come at a price somewhere along the line, and the government proposals have come under fire from the Conservatives.

Royston MP Oliver Heald said: "Labour's plans to extend free personal care and to introduce a National Care Service are in chaos.

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"Labour ministers in Whitehall are considering levying a compulsory death tax of up to �20,000 on every person in England, and now it looks like they'll put another �26 a year on Hertfordshire's council tax. Gordon Brown needs to come clean about who will pay the price for his plans."

The opposition are always going to ask questions, especially when they want to get one up on their rivals, but if we were all levied with an extra �26 per year on our council tax would that really be such a big bill to foot? I'm sure we can all think of things we fritter away that kind of cash on every year. And while nobody likes to see their bills go up, if it ensures my elderly relatives get a better standard of free care in their dotage then it's a price I would quite happily pay.

I'm sure the irony of Cheryl Cole singing her hit Fight for this Love at the Brit Awards last week was appreciated by many viewers.

After all, the X-Factor judge is reported to be considering whether to ditch her footballer husband Ashley over allegations that he has been, er, playing away.

Given the Chelsea's stars numerous indiscretions in recent years, it would seem he doesn't consider their relationship to be something worth fighting for. In the unlikely event that you're reading this Cheryl, my advice to you would be to get rid!

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